Thursday, 02 July 2020 07:48

Hood, Davis and Tillman headline N.C. Preps pre-season all-state team

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Caleb Hood (left), Jaleel Davis (center) and CJ Tillman (right) have been named to the N.C. Preps pre-season all-state team. Caleb Hood (left), Jaleel Davis (center) and CJ Tillman (right) have been named to the N.C. Preps pre-season all-state team.

ROCKINGHAM — Three more individual pre-season accolades for the Richmond Senior High School football team are helping shape up what looks to be an exciting season for Raider Nation.

N.C. Preps, a media outlet that is part of and run regionally by Deana King, released its official 2020 pre-season all-state team. On it are three rising senior Raider players, two of whom are Division I commits, while the other is fielding offers from several D-I programs.

Quarterback Caleb Hood, offensive lineman Jaleel Davis and linebacker CJ Tillman made up the latest trio of Richmond players to receive recognition ahead of their swan song season. Over 200 head coaches from across the state participated in the voting for the final roster.

Hood, a varsity starter under center since his freshman year, was also named to WSOC-TV’s “Big 22 Players to Watch” list last week. He’s a University of North Carolina commit, having made the decision to join Mack Brown and the Tar Heels in January.

Davis is the other verbally committed Raider, as he’ll also head to the Triangle for his college career, but play for the North Carolina State University Wolfpack.

Tillman, who exploded onto the scene as a junior ball hawk last fall, currently has offers from 12 different programs. Among them are Eastern Illinois, The Citadel, Old Dominion, Fordham, Elon and Liberty, and he remains undecided at this time.

The complete pre-season all-state roster is made up of 33 players from all four classifications across North Carolina, as 12 “offensive”, 12 “defensive” and nine “athletes/special teams” players were chosen. 

Davis and Tillman were named to the offensive and defensive groups, respectively, while Hood was recognized as an athlete.

N.C. Preps’ honor is just one of many being given out by media outlets across the state, despite the current dead period surrounding high school athletics. Currently, no final decision has been made by state or local education officials as to whether a full football schedule will be played this fall due to the coronavirus.

Tillman, a 6-foot, 212-pound linebacker, is no stranger to being named to an N.C. Preps roster. Following his junior season, when he led the Raiders in tackles (105), tackles for loss (21) and tackles per game (8.1), he was one of 11 defensive players selected for the final 2019 all-state team.

Davis is coming off his second-straight All-Sandhills Athletic Conference selection, as his 6-5, 290-pound frame protected Hood’s blind side at left tackle. He was part of an offensive line that helped produce an average of 397.8 offensive yards per game and 78 total touchdowns last fall, as the front five also helped produce an SAC-best 569 points.

Hood, who never forgets to credit Davis and his fellow offensive linemen for their efforts in the trenches, is one of the top all-around football players in the state. While he threw for 2,175 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior, he added 976 rushing yards and 16 more scores on the ground.

The 6-foot, 200-pound dual-threat quarterback is also part of a star-studded 2021 recruiting class at UNC, which several sports critics have ranked in the top five around the nation. There is also the possibility that Hood switches to play safety or tailback as a Tar Heel.

Following the 2019 season, Hood and Tillman were named the top offensive and top defensive players in the SAC, respectively.

Just three of the roughly 30 seniors on the Raiders’ roster this fall, Davis, Hood and Tillman are all looking to raise their individual and team stock for their final season. Richmond will look to defend its back-to-back SAC titles, while also searching for its first 4AA state title appearance and championship since 2008.

Below is the full N.C. Preps pre-season all-state roster in alphabetical order by position group:

Offensive Players: Gavin Blackwell (Sun Valley), Jaleel Davis (Richmond), Michael Gonzalez (Sun Valley), Jaden Lindsey (East Forsyth), Drake Maye (Myers Park), Yousef Mugharbil (Murphy), Bryan Nesbit (South Mecklenburg), Kobe Paysour (Kings Mountain), Evan Pryor (Hough), Will Shipley (Weddington), Colby Smith (Rockingham) and Jared Wilson (West Forsyth). 

Defensive Players: Raneiria Dillworth (Glenn), Power Echols (Vance), Chase Hattley (Panther Creek), Mario Love, Jr. (Hough), Dontavius Nash (Huss) Payton Page (Dudley), Zaire Patterson (Winston-Salem Prep), Jahvaree Ritzie (Glenn), Travis Shaw (Grimsley), Keeshawn Silver (Rocky Mount), Gabe Stephens (Mountain Island Charter) and CJ Tillman (Richmond).

Athletes/Special Teams Players: Michael Allen (J.H. Rose), Deandre Boykins (Central Cabarrus), Matthew Dennis (Myers Park), Caleb Hood (Richmond), Kaemen Marley (Eastern Randolph), Alex McLaughlin (Weddington), Breon Pass (Reidsville), Savone Tutt (Pamlico) and Jeff Yurk (Pinecrest).

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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